Showcase-Sunday and the Cold Fingers
Terrible, terrible, terrible. Oh, I really hate that one. Garbage.
Does anyone else look at their writing from a year ago in the same light? I've grown so much since then. That said, now and then, whether or not it is garbage, something old still relates to me in the present day.
How I look when reading my old garbage.
It just so happens that this thing I am about to show you, which I wrote in October of last year, happened to me a few nights back.
Maybe I haven't grown that much.
I howled against the window pane. The children immediately mimicked me, little wolf pups still finding their voices. The full moon was surrounded by some clumpy little balls of cloud turned silver in the light. I like how the full moon shines brightly through the children’s window at bedtime, like one enormous, peaceful nightlight. Howling at it like a wolf seemed like a good thing to do.
Big Dog came storming into the dark room, pacing the floor surrounding us. He tried to howl, but to no avail. He was panicked: My pack has beckoned me, I must join in! My distant wolf instincts tell me so! But how? I am not a wolf!
Life had taken a chaotic turn for him, when only an hour earlier all was at peace.
An hour earlier, there we were, walking cloaked in the blue glow of dusk. Walking doesn’t describe it well, it was more of a lazy meander. It was the first night the cool fingertips of fall rested on my shoulders. They rubbed down my exposed arms, lighting up the senses—a welcome trail of chill. The cool fingertips come with a smell that can’t be described. It is a thing entirely its own.
Golden streetlights were flicking on, their light half hidden by the black silhouettes of oak tree branches. The branches stretched upward on either side of the street, meeting in the middle and leaving a jagged crack of open sky there. Above I could see the pale smears of the faded sunset. The atmosphere was perfect. Big Dog and I were at peace. And then—
The scream of something inhuman destroyed the peace.
I shuffled around to silence it. "Damn politicians," I muttered as I looked at the foreign number lighting up the screen in my hand. The unwanted phone calls have been increasing by the day, leading up to now—the first day of voting. Someone told me today that they prefer to vote in person, because then they get that 'I voted' sticker. I send my ballot in by mail, because I’m over five years old and am just not that fond of stickers.
They have a tendency to end up in the wash, and leave a leftover grey marking on clothing that will stick around until the next election, I thought. Focus! Get back to peace!
Yes, peace. A deep inhalation, then slow, smooth exhalation of warm air to mingle with the cool. For an instant I imagined them dancing, before the cold enveloped the warm. The cold fingers were on the tip of my nose, trailing their chill down my cheeks. Those fingers picked themselves up into a wind to rush through my hair, and I tossed my hair back, in acceptance. The wind rushed around my exposed throat, a cool caress, so I inhaled it. And then—
An alien shriek, a blinding glare, and an unnatural wind pushed away the cold fingers.
The man on the machine nodded at me as he blasted past, a curious expression on his face. I’d become that weird lady that walks so slowly down the street that clearly it is of no benefit to her dog, after dark, wearing a dress instead of jogging pants, flip-flops instead of rational shoes, and tossing her hair in the wind like Scarlett O’Hara showing off diamond earrings.
I’m okay with that. Now where was I?
I reached a clearing. The sky stood wide open and smoothed over with wisps of clouds that had faded from their dramatic pink to a silent sort of light blue. Mars was glowing orange, the first to arrive to the show, so I made a wish on it like I used to as a child. Star light, star bright…
The wind came back with a whoosh, and it rushed around my shoulders and upper back, like a nudge. Big Dog snorted, seeing the electric lights of home up ahead. “Fine, fine, we are going,” I said to him. Cold fingers, you don’t stick around in these parts this time of year. But maybe I’ll catch you later, on your return trip, late November?
This time there was no inhuman scream, no alien shriek. Big Dog pulled me on, back into the electric lights.
So why not then? Might as well howl at the moon. With the cold fingers passing through, it's just that sort of a night.